Abbildungen der Seite

member. The following donations were presented, viz. “ Dr Spurzheim's View of the Philosophical Principles of Phrenology," by the author. Two Esquimaux skulls, one by Mr James Hay, of Leith Links, the other by Mr Thomas Turn. bull, surgeon, Galashiels.

December 15.-Dr Andrew Combe read an Essay on the Seat and Nature of Hypochondriasis, as illustrated by Phrenology; and promised, if desired by the Society, to lay before them, in a future communication, some facts which had fallen under his notice since writing the present paper, and which led to the further extension and elucidation of the principles therein discussed. In his next essay, Dr C. intends to notice the benefits which medical science has derived from the application of Phrenology to the pathology of mental derangement, as exemplified in the very able professional work on Insanity by Dr Spurzheim, and also in those of two French physicians, Georget and Falret, who have lately written on the same subject.— The Secretary read a letter from Dr Otto of Copenhagen to Mr G. Combe, detailing the progress of the science in Holland and Germany. Mr Thomas Megget, W. S. was admitted an ordinary member.


We have given ten pages extra in this Number, and, nevertheless, the following articles are unavoidably postponed tillour next publication :-Review of “ The philosophical Principles of Phrenology, by Dr Spurzheim.” This is an admirable work; in profundity and reach of thought it surpasses even Dr Spurzheim's former productions, and forms a great contribution to the science. It came too late to enable us to notice it in this Number. Review of Dr Poole's “ Essay on Education." This also is an interesting volume, written on the principles of Phrenology. Review of “ An Apology for the Study of Phrenology" from the Bath press. Correspondence betwixt the Secretary of the Glasgow Phrenological Society and Dr Spurzheim. Essay on the Faculty of Concentrativeness. Queries to a Phrenologist, with Answers. Case of a Mechanical Genius.

LONDON.-At the first meeting of the London Phrenological Society this season, Dr Elliotson read a learned and eloquent address on Phrenology ; Dr Moore read an able paper at the second meeting ; and several gentlemen of distinguished reputation in other branches of science have been enrolled among its members.

its members. We hear that Dr Spurzheim intends to pass five months of this year in England, and to lecture in London and several of the provincial towns. This will be of great importance to the cause.

EDINBURGH.--Since our last publication, Phrenology has sustained two assaults in this city. The first is, “ A Vindi“cation of the Church of Scotland from the Charge of Fa“ talism, brought against it in No VIII. of the Phrenological « Journal." We received a letter in answer to this production, but are obliged, for want of room, to postpone its insertion till our next.--On Monday evening, 19th December, 1825, Sir William Hamilton, Bart. read an essay in the Royal Society, Edinburgh, “On the Practical Conclusions from Gall's “ Theory regarding the Functions of the Brain.” This gentleman is a distinguished member of the Scottish bar, on the Whig side.

Some time ago he stood candidate for the chair of Moral Philosophy in this University, and on that occasion presented to the patrons a volume of testimonials of the highest order. These represented him as a man of

great talents and vast erudition, and eminently qualified, by his profound analytic powers, to do honour to the chair which he was ambitious to fill. The metaphysical acumen, however, of his rival, John Wilson, Esq. was on that occasion preferred; but, not to lose so great an ornament to the University, Sir William Hamilton was elected Professor of Universal History, and now holds that situation. In a few years, when it shall be no longer possible, with any shew of reason, to deny the truth of Phrenology, it will become the fashion to dispute the

[ocr errors]

originality of its founders; and the favourite theme of the opponents will then be, that Phrenology was known long before Drs Gall and Spurzheim were born, and that their whole merits consisted in cunningly appropriating the discoveries of preceding authors, and impudently bringing them forward as their own. In anticipation of this being asserted, we record the following notice of Sir William Hamilton's Essay as a historical document. It is taken from the Edinburgh Observer of 230 December.

“ ROYAL SOCIETY.-On Monday evening last, Sir William Ha“milton, Bart. read a most eloquent and interesting paper on the Practical Conclusions from Gall's Theory regarding the Functions of the Brain. The attendance of both members and visitors “ was extremely numerous ; indeed, we have seldom witnessed so “ crowded a night; and we understand, that a large proportion of “ the audience were attracted no less by the well-known learning “ and philosophical talent of the individual, than by his supposed "audacity in thus bearding the lion, as it were, in his den. Among “ the company present, we poticed our ingenious Professor of Moral “ Philosophy, and the Reverend and highly-estimable Professor of " Logic, besides a number of other eminent literary and scientific “ characters. Phrenology, however, proved to be a complete play“ thing in the dexterous hands of Sir William, or rather the mas“ terly manner in which the subject was treated, suggested to our « mind the idea of a pigmy impotently writhing in the nervous

grasp of a giant. In the course of his admirable paper, of which “ we could not pretend to give our readers an analysis, without do“ing manifest injustice to the singular merit of the whole produc“ tion, Sir W. demonstrated, upon the most satisfactory philosophi" cal principles, that the craniological, or phrenological hypothesis

, « whatever view may be taken of it, provided we reason consistently, “ directly and logically, conducts us to the grossest and most abo“ minable materialism, fatalism, and atheism. Sir W. shewed the " extreme looseness and ambiguity of the whole craniological induc" tion, as it is called ; and we thought him particularly happy in “ his refutation of that unphilosophical distinction, upon which the “phrenologists so much insist, - and which makes such a figure in " the works of Gall, Spurzheim, Combe and Co.-between the

power and the activity of an organ, which he demonstrated to be

a complete fallacy, originating in an utter ignorance of the very " elements of physical science.

“We have no hesitation in saying, that this spirited paper constituted the highest intellectual repast which the Royal Society has for a long period enjoyed. To us it seemed while we re“ garded the reader with an anxiety proportioned to the interest “ which he appeared deeply to feel in the sacred cause of truth_as “ if he had been almost inspired for the purpose of pouring forth his “just and indignant reprobation upon a series of vulgar doctrines, “ the offspring of a spurious hypothesis, which are calculated only “to annihilate all genuine philosophy, and to hurl the whole moral “ universe into chaos and confusion.

“ We know not whether any of the great phrenological Professors

were present, or any of those learned theological Doctors who are “ said to patronize this absurd theory. If not, the loss was their own. “ At all events, no objection was stated to the principles advanced “ in this eloquent and argumentative paper; and every individual, “ so far as we are aware, departed with a full conviction, that the “ truly learned and philosophical Baronet had most ably pleaded “ the cause of real science against the unblushing pretensions of so“phistry and error, and that he had succeeded in the noble task of

imparting fresh 'ardour to virtue,' and additional confidence "to truth.'"

This, then, is the light in which Phrenology appeared to the learned men of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1825. We were not present at the reading of this essay, because we were informed that no debate is allowed, and, of course, all opportunity of refuting it was excluded. Sir William, however, we are told, said, that he had written the Essay (of which only one part of three was then read) to gratify the Phrenologists, who exclaimed, “ Oh, that mine enemy would write a book !” We have only one farther favour to request of this gentleman, that he would publish his book. The account given in the Observer of the delight afforded by it to the philosophers of the old school is not exaggerated : never was such flapping of wings and erecting of crests seen as it occasioned. We had no conception, that mortification at our success had sunk so deeply into the spirits of the “ ancients” as it appeared, by their joy on this occasion, to have done. It is clear, that they feel their reputations at stake; but that each is conscious of having placed himself in opposition, without grounds sufficient to satisfy his own mind that he is in the right. Hence the loud acclaim in praise of every champion who, they fondly hope, has studied the subject, and found reasons for rejecting it, which they are well aware they have never deigned to do themselves. It is amusing to us to trace the history of their heroes. First, the late Dr Gordon set


tled the quacks, Gall and Spurzheim, in the Edinburgh Review. Dr Spurzheim soon turned the edge of Gordon's sword against himself, and absolutely destroyed his philosophical reputation, so that it has never revived. Dr Roget then advanced to the attack, and Mr Combe gave him such an answer, that he retired from the field ; and no opponent, who has read both sides of the controversy, any longer refers to him as having settled the merits of the science. Dr Barclay next entered the lists, and great was the joy when his refutation appeared. Dr A. Combe, however, analyzed his objections in a paper of twenty pages in the Phrenological Transactions, and the shout of victory no longer rung in Dr Barclay's ears. Rudolphi of Berlin was next the pillar of the enemy; but his refutation was procured, and found to be merely a transcript of Dr Barclay's arguments, with a few additional absurdities of his own, and he also was consigned to the tomb of all the Capulets. For some time, the gentlemen of the old school have been in absolute despair, and great has been their joy at the appearance of so respectable a defender as Sir William Hamilton. The necessity for his appearance, and the delight occasioned by it, amount to a clear acknowledgment, on their part, of the absolute failure of all our previous opponents. We again repeat, therefore, “ Oh, that our enemy would publish his book !" and high be his renown if the world shall award to him the meed of refuting our “ spurious hypothesis.”

Paisley.-On Wednesday evening, 16th November, Mr John Torbet, surgeon, commenced, in the hall of the Philosophical Institution, a course of popular lectures on Phrenology, and has continued to lecture to a numerous and highly-respectable audience of ladies and gentlemen since that time. Mr Torbet's lectures are clear, elegant, and instructive; the attendance is extremely regular, even in the most boisterous evenings, and the interest excited is at once honourable to his talents and gratifying to all the friends of the science. His audience amounted to about 70 persons ;






« ZurückWeiter »